Grant to Expand Bus Service Along Highway 26 Awarded to Mt. Hood NF & Clackamas County
Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
The Mount Hood National Forest along with its partner Clackamas County received a grant on February 18, 2013 in the amount of $460,400 to expand the existing transit bus system known as Mountain Express along the Highway 26 corridor. Clackamas County and Mt. Hood National Forest will use this grant award to purchase new busses equipped for winter driving conditions, and to expand the existing Mountain Express bus service. The expanded service will include “express runs” from Sandy to Government Camp, with stops at a number of communities along US-26.
The service will provide a number of daily express runs to the Government Camp, Timberline and Ski Bowl Ski Areas. Existing local bus service will be maintained. Local commuter runs will continue to be provided, with stops between Sandy and Rhododendron. This will provide year-round service to local communities and access to employment centers, retail and social services, as well as winter and summer recreation use in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
“We are excited to expand the Mt. Hood Express bus service from Sandy, all the way up to Government Camp,” said Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard. “Many federal, state, and local partners came together to make this important new transit link a reality, and expand an important service for people and businesses in our county.”
This effort is widely supported by many partners including Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Sandy, all three ski areas on Mt. Hood, Hood River County, and the Villages at Mt. Hood who provided letters of support during the application process. The effort to expand public transit on the forest is a high priority action item identified in the Mt. Hood National Forest 2012 Alternative Transit Opportunities Study and will continue to be an item of investigation during the on-going Multi-Modal Transportation Planning effort by ODOT. Information about both efforts can be found at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/pages/MHMTP.aspx.
The Forest will be working with Clackamas County, ODOT, City of Sandy, Timberline Lodge Ski Area, Ski Bowl Ski Area, and others to develop an implementation plan.
On February 18, 2013 the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $12.5 million in grants for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access U.S. national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.
The selected projects will help reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for millions of visitors to enjoy the nation’s scenic Federal lands. The funds are provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program, which awarded $40.8 million for similar projects in January 2012.